KEEPING AUSTIN WEIRD, WE PARTNERED WITH MURALIST AVERY O TO TAG THE WALL AT OUR FAVORITE AUSTIN LIVE MUSIC VENUE, EMPIRE CONTROL ROOM & GARAGE
OF ALL THE “JOBS” IN THE WORLD, WE THINK “MURALIST” IS ON TOP OF THE COOL LIST… HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT FOR YOU?
It's the coolest! I honestly wonder sometimes how I got so lucky to find this career path. I started my mural business a bit backwards. I decided that I wanted to learn how to paint, but I am admittedly bad at having hobbies. I don’t have the dedication it takes to learn a new skill without an endgame or purposeful goal in sight. If I was going to dedicate hours to learning a new skill after quitting a full time job and with two babies at home, I needed a practical reason. I had to make money, so I needed to make my new interest a financial benefit instead of a financial burden. I started a business painting murals, and in the process I learned how to paint murals. I had absolutely no idea whatI was doing artistically, knew nothing about mural painting specifically and had no idea how to run a business. It was trial and error (lots of error) for the first three or four years. Over time I developed as an artists and have since been consistently making money while doing something that I love.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
Someone recently described my style as “sophisticated whimsical” and I think that pretty much nails it. My murals utilize clean line work, strong color combos and repeating patterns to create both intricate and simple art pieces with a deep story potential. I often layer characters and scenery into my work. Sometimes I just create doodles over layers of vibrant color. Sometimes my murals start as simple illustrations that morph into full-scale mural concepts as the process and positive energy take over as the driving force.
AS A MURALIST, SCALE IS A BIG PART OF WHAT YOU DO… HOW DID YOU DETERMINE THAT YOU LIKE TO MAKE LARGE SCALE WORK? IS THERE ANYTHING TOO BIG/SMALL IN YOUR OPINION?
I fell in love with mural painting when I moved from a tiny apartment to a full sized house and didn’t have enough artwork or the budget to decorate the walls. I picked a few rooms and started painting murals as a way to fill the space without breaking the bank. I was hooked. Since then I’ve painted murals as small as city electric boxes and murals four stories tall.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR BEING A MURALIST?
The biggest challenges are those outside of my control - scheduling those “hurry up and wait” construction projects, rain delays and brutal Texas heat. This job takes a lot of patience and an ability to roll with the punches.
IF YOU WEREN’T A MURALIST, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
A back up dancer for Lizzo. Obviously.
TELL US HOW YOU APPROACHED THIS PIECE AND ABOUT SOME OF THE ICONOGRAPHY YOU WEAVED INTO THIS PIECE…
Slow& Low is such a badass brand with a fantastic illustrative element that matches my style so perfectly. It was so easy to use the existing Slow &Low brand artwork and weave in some of my Avery O design elements - line art clouds & cacti, flying guitars and tacos, and my favorite Peter Pan Putt-Putt dino!
IF YOU COULD CREATE YOUR DREAM MURAL, WHAT/WHERE WOULD IT BE?
Oooh, I’d love to paint a big aquatic mural on a non-traditional surface - a swimming pool, a school bus, maybe a basketball court!
IF YOU COULD SEE YOUR DREAM SHOW AT THE EMPIRE CONTROL ROOM & GARAGE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Well I’m definitely getting tickets to the upcoming Gangstagrass show! I’d love to see some Tank and the Bangas, the Suffers, The California Honeydrops, Jomo &The Possum Posse.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ARTISTS?
Oh man, that’s hard! Here are a few favorites: Bisa Butler, Ray Hughes, Dan Grissom, Dave McClinton, Dawn Okoro, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, Sophie Roach, ShantellMartin, Caledonia Curry, Okuda San Miguel, Julia Rothman, Kehinde Wiley… the list goes on!
GIVE US A TOP 3 PLAYLIST TO GET YOU IN THE MOOD FOR MAKING ART…
NewOrleans Funk, 90s Hip Hop & Motown Classics
HOW DO YOU LIKE TO DRINK SLOW & LOW?
Rock and Rye over two ice cubes, ideally around a campfire with friends.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR AVERY O?
I have a number of incredible projects lined up including a residential project on the AIA Home Tour, a hotel in San Antonio, a massive wall facing I-35 for FastFriends Brewing, and a number of office, restaurant and city murals as well. I like to keep busy and every day painting is a good day!
CHECK OUT AVERY O AT: averyodesign.com and @averyodesign